The Grass is Always Greener

May 20, 2014

First of all, let me back track to last week for a moment.  It might appear that its been a long time since I've been out with my camera, but that isn't exactly true.  I went out twice last week and spent a good bit of time focusing on my photography.  However, I have nothing to show for it.  The first time I went out, I went out to my favorite salvage yard.  Just as I was about to get the camera set up to capture a nice rusty truck, I was flagged down by somebody that lived on the street.  He asked if the owner knew I was out there.  One thing led to another and I found myself walking over to the owner's house and meeting him for the first time.  Unfortunately the meeting didn't go well, and I was told that he would rather me not stay on his property.  OK, no problem, I will move on to something else.  I drove around for a while in search of that something else, but nothing materialized and I ended up at home several hours later without having even taken my camera out of the bag.

My second attempt came a couple of days later and took me to Linville Falls.  We had been having some serious rain and according to the weather forecast, the rain would be moving out from the area shortly after noon with only some scattered showers lingering.  I could deal with that, I I figured that would be a perfect time to photograph Dugger's Creek Falls and Roaring Fork Falls.  I started out late in the morning and arrived at Linville about 30 minutes before the rain was supposed to stop.  It had been feathering off since about Wilkesboro and I was optimistic about the possibilities.  When I arrived, I checked the forecast and found that there was a bit more rain that had been added to the hourly which was a little disappointing to say the least.  I stayed in my truck for about an hour watching the rain come down stronger and stronger.  I finally decided that based on the radar image, I would be doing better to try something Northeast of my location so I headed out to give it a try.  The rain would not stop it seemed....Until I came to a field with a fallen tree.  Miraculously, the rain stopped and the sun even poked out a bit.  I quickly got my camera set up and started to work the scene.  I was having a difficult time getting a composition that I liked, and I was having to work between gusts of wind that were causing a bush in my foreground to move way too much.  By the time, I got the composition set, and the wind started to die down, the rain came back.  The few decent pictures that I got showed too many water spots to be salvageable.  I packed my soaked gear up and drove home, stopping at two other potential subjects only to be rained out once again.  I had six images for the day, and none of them were good enough to develop.

Two treks, zero hits, time to go back to work.  This is part of the fun of being a landscape photographer I suppose.

Down and Out
Late January, 2014

That was then, this is now.  It was my first day off from work, I was itching to get out and release the shutter to capture something worthwhile.  I was having a hard time deciding on a destination.  The weather wasn't going to be good for too long in the morning, and I didn't want to spend a lot of travel time going to the mountains.  I decided to keep it local today and looked through some of my photos from earlier this year when it was still winter.  Almost immediately I stumbled on a series of pictures from out in Stokes County where I had found a field full of treasures purely by accident.  Having talked with the property owner and having got his permission to be out there, and to come back whenever I wanted...this was the destination.  I was really interested to see what these old vehicles looked like in a season where everything was green and filled with new life.

Tucked In
What a difference four months makes to a landscape!!!!  When I got out there, everything was so green, and the grass was so grown up in most places.  The trees were full with new leaves and it looked like a completely different place.  I started working my way around and finding out what vehicles would photograph well at this time of year.  Some didn't have the same flare that they did before, some were better, and some were just different.  I passed by the ones that lacked that initial flare and looked for ones that were substantially different, and better than they were before.

Just Plain Tired
January, 2014
Hauling Till the End
Probably the best example of what a seasonal change can do is this old GMC truck.  When I went in January the truck that was parked directly behind it was a problematic distraction from the compositions that I wanted to do.  What I was left with was a cropped view of just the cab, and shot at a hard angle to the side.  It was the best I could do under the existing circumstances.  I was never overly happy with the outcome, but I did like the truck.  This time, the trees had filled in very nicely, and they were thick enough to camouflage the truck that was just a few feet from the rear of this truck.  I was finally able to get the proper angle on it, and show off the entire truck as I had always wanted to do.  Not only was this composition open to me, I was also able to shoot it from the rear much easier than I had been able to do before.

Out of Gas
With a little bit of compositional trickery, I was able to eliminate the visual distractions behind the truck and still give it a sweeping landscape to reside in.  The line of grass even gives a nice diagonal element to the picture that helps lead the eyes into the frame.  At first I found it less than ideal that the owner had chosen to leave various parts in the bed, but in short order I altered my way of thinking.  Trucks are meant to haul things, and even in retirement this example is doing just that.  I found it interesting that one of the items in the bed was an old gas tank.  With truck looking like it was just pulled over to the side of the field, the gas tank in the bed...I got this feeling of despair...running out of gas so to speak.  That title was easy enough!

Just beyond this old GMC was the blue Quality Oil Chevrolet which I was very interested to find.  It was one of my two favorites from January, and I was very excited to see the blue and red surrounded by the green of the new leaves.  I wasn't disappointed except that the greenery was a lot more dense than I had suspected.  All that meant was I was a little limited in my compositions.  I still worked that truck from every available angle and had a blast doing it.

Discarded Bowtie
 It's rare that I do a portrait shot of a vehicle as they typically lend themselves to a landscape orientation.  As I was framing this truck, the bare branch in the foreground kept jumping out at me, and seemed to insist that it was an important element in the entire composition.  For the most part it really didn't make sense in most compositions I was doing, but when I flipped the camera on its side that relationship immediately made sense and started to flow.  The branch became almost a leading line into the picture.  The calico truck was the visual reward deep inside of the composition.  This one might just be my favorite from the location.  It isolates just what is important to the photograph, and everything is organized in a way that makes perfect sense.  The colors all work together nicely as well!

As I finished up, I made one last walk through of the field to see if anything else jumped out at me.  I was hoping that the MG would present well in the current season, but I found that it just left me empty inside.  What I had captured in January was much better than what was here now, so I didn't attempt anything new with this car.  I could see it working well in the fall though, so stay tuned...I don't think we have seen the last of this little red car.

After only about an hour I was back at the truck and putting my gear away.  I had about 30 frames between the two trucks, and honestly figured that I had two good images out of those.  I was happy with that, but after having my creative hiney handed to me twice last week, I wasn't quite ready to call it quits for the day.  The light was still good so I continued North through Stokes County to see what I could find.

I passed by a lot of potential, but nothing called out to me.  Nothing tripped that emotional trigger making me excited about capturing any images.  As the time ticked on, I started to think about things that needed to be done at home, so I started my way back to the house.  As I was coming down Hwy 8 I came upon an old crane that I have seen for many years.  It had always caught my eye and I always found it interesting, but just never had the notion to turn my camera on it.  With the way the light was hitting it today, and the fresh green of the trees around it, I had to give it a second look.  That second look resulted in me taking the camera out and working some compositions.

Needing a Lift
This was an interesting subject for me as I have never photographed a crane before.  Obviously, I wasn't overly interested in the boom, but I had to take that into consideration as it would be an exit point for the eyes depending on where it fell in the frame.  The boxy nature of the main part of the crane wasn't particularly interesting graphically, but the rusty textures, and the inner workings gave a good bit of visual interest in my opinion.  For the first time, all of this really stood out with the sun in a perfect position above, and shrouded by a thin layer of clouds which diffused the light almost perfectly.  All of the details showed up and gave lots for the eyes to explore within the frame.  There was only a few angles I could work this crane from though as the other side was in the deep shadows and also mostly covered by the trees.  The rear of it lacked a lot of visual interest, and I had no real access to the front.  I tried a lot of different variations from the rear 3/4 view, but found that possibly my most interesting composition came from an up close, abstract view that was prompted by Toni's voice in my head.  You see, she is a big fan of abstract art, and usually prefers when I have a bit of abstract in my photography.

Rust in Peace
Since it was the rust that really caught my eye, and I was quite interested in the inner workings of the mechanicals I decided to get up close and personal with those elements.  Since the access doors were open, I was able to get both of these elements in a single shot.  At first glance it is very hard to tell what you are looking at, but as you explore, your eyes are treated with many hard straight lines, curves, circles, and angles.  There are many textures here to explore as well between wood, metal, rust, and flaking paint...not to mention the organic element of the leaves.  The way that the colors play together here might be my favorite aspect of the whole thing.  There are so many warm tones here that add to the visual excitement, but the blue of the remaining paint helps to give that much needed visual balance.  There is just so much here to look at...Toni might be onto something with the abstract shots!

After I had worked the crane as much as I though I could, I packed it all in and headed for home.  I had a service to do on Toni's truck, and needed to get that taken care of before she went to work.  I was pretty sure that I had about four pictures out of the 40 frames that I had shot.  Regardless, I was just happy that I had found some subjects that excited me today.  I felt like I was back on track once again.  Needless to say, I was very excited when I was going through my photos when I found that there were a total of six images that I felt made the cut and were worth keeping.  That is still much better than the typical 10% hit rate, and that makes me very happy!

No comments:

Post a Comment